The British Royal Navy’s fourth and final Tide-class tanker, the future Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Tideforce, has arrived in Falmouth, Cornwall, to undergo customisation works.
The 39,000t ship has completed its delivery voyage from South Korea and is ready to be converted from a tanker vessel into a military tanker.
RFA Tideforce is expected to support the two newest Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and the future HMS Prince of Wales, upon entering service with the Royal Navy.
The vessel will be used to provide fuel and water to navy ships deployed worldwide, even in adverse environments and challenging sea conditions.
UK Defence Procurement Minister Stuart Andrew said: “Tideforce’s arrival completes our new tanker fleet, ensuring our warships can continue their essential work across the globe.
“Hundreds of Cornwall workers will now install state-of-the-art systems before she joins her sister ships on operations next year.
“Providing everything from a floating helipad, to a refuelling vessel for our brand-new aircraft carriers, we are delivering the equipment our armed forces need to combat illegal trade, safeguard our waters and promote peace throughout the world.”
The future RFA Tideforce is currently docked in the A&P Falmouth yard and has joined its sister vessels Tidespring, Tiderace and Tidesurge, which are capable of delivering more than 1,500m³ of fuel every hour.
Work on the customisation of the Tide-class fleet, including the installation of communications equipment and defensive systems, is currently sustaining 300 job opportunities.
The future RFA Tideforce is expected to enter service with the Royal Navy next year.
Its sister vessel Tidespring is already in service with the navy, while Tiderace is expected to be operational in September and Tidesurge has recently completed its customisation programme.